by Staci Stallings
I love romance. I love to watch people fall in love… not lust. Love. And there’s a difference.
When people fall in lust, they are attracted to a body–a temporary entity. They expend a lot of energy trying to impress the other person. They might go out on dates, give expensive gifts, and even sleep together soon after meeting. This is not love.
Love is deeper, more profound than who slept with whom last night. Our society has lost its sense of love because love requires being there in the good times and the bad times–not just as long as it’s easy or it works. Real love is about going beyond yourself and doing what’s best for the other person even if it’s difficult or inconvenient for you.
In my books a lot of times the characters in the prospective relationship have emotional baggage they really need to put down in order to move forward. Love gives each character a safe place to do that even though it might be extremely hard to get to them to the point of wanting to.
For example in this book, “To Protect & Serve,” Jeff Taylor is the epitome of shy. He can hardly get two words out with the guys around. Bring a woman around, and he’s sunk. At first you kind of sense that about him, but you don’t really know why. As he and Lisa begin to get to know one another, those walls start coming down and you learn why he is so shy right along with Lisa, and a connection cannot help but be formed to this man who has been hurt so deeply.
That’s what real love is about–breaking down those walls, allowing this person you’re in the relationship with the time and space and safety to come out from behind their walls and learn to be real.
So when I write a romance, I’m not writing about two people who fall into lust. I’m sharing about two people who are learning what real love is. And this book does that in spades.
First there’s the fact that Jeff is so shy and Lisa hates guys with a purple passion because of how she’s been treated over the years. Those walls take a long time to breach. But then about the time those start coming down, real life hits.
You know, the real life you don’t often think about in romances–where bad things happen and you’re having to navigate them with this person you are only beginning to learn to love. Oh, those are so rough because you just want to make everything better, but you can’t. They are hurting. You are hurting. And life is really a struggle.
However, I believe it’s in those times that real, true, deep love is forged, or the relationship breaks completely.
So how do I craft a great romance? Mostly I just let the characters tell their stories, and they take care of most of it. But ultimately I remember that really falling in love is about more than clothes hitting the floor and how much one person “wants” the other. It’s about learning to be there for each other and about living through things together, making memories together, and growing into something whole
and new and beautiful as individuals and… together. That is what falling in love and being in love really means. And that’s what makes a great romance.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012
About the Author:
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.